What was Boris Johnson’s national flagship project and why was it terminated?

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak (Leon Neal/PA) (PA Wire)
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak (Leon Neal/PA) (PA Wire)

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s national flagship yacht project has been scrapped by Rishi Sunak’s administration.

Just a year ago, government employees and MPs were discussing how it would be built and whether it was a wise financial choice.

As the decision to axe it makes headlines, you might find yourself wondering what the national flagship yacht project was and why it was terminated.

Here is everything we know.

What was Boris Johnson's national flagship?

During his premiership, Boris Johnson had announced a £250 million scheme that would create a successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia, a vessel that was retired in 1997.

This national flagship yacht was meant to promote the UK abroad by hosting trade fairs and diplomatic events.

The vessel hadn’t been given a name yet, but it was set to be built in the UK and enter service in 2024 or 2025.

Estimations said that running the yacht would require 50 to 60 personnel and £20-30 million a year.

The national flagship yacht was going to cost up to £250 million (PA Media)
The national flagship yacht was going to cost up to £250 million (PA Media)

Why was it terminated?

Rishi Sunak’s adminisation decided to terminate the project as they brace for major cuts in the face of inflation, rising interest rates and a recession.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told MPs that while the national flagship plans had been axed, the government was “accelerating” the development of research and surveillance ships.

Noting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he explained that it was “right that we prioritise delivering capabilities that safeguard our national infrastructure”.

This comes a year after Mr Wallace promised the national flagship yacht would be a “jewel in the crown” at a promotion event for the project.

At the time, he had said: “Our ambition is for something special, not just a cutting-edge ship, but a truly national flagship,

“I want the grandparents of the future, to boast to their grandchildren and say one day ‘I helped to build that ship!’” he had added.